Positive Thinking Helps Anxiety
Staying positive is something that we all hear is important. But how does positive thinking help anxiety? I used to think about this quite a bit when I was younger and lacked the tools to manage my anxiety. I would often wonder how having a positive outlook and being optimistic could be helpful for me. I often thought that no one understood what I went through, that the worries that consumed me, and all of my racing thoughts, could not be put to rest simply by thinking positive thoughts.
But since then, what I have found, is that intentionally thinking positive thoughts is a beneficial way to help lessen, reduce, and even eliminate anxious thoughts that can become overwhelming. Thinking positive thoughts can help stop negative thinking in its tracks, and it can, as a result, be a helpful way to get anxiety under control.
Why Is Positive Thinking Helpful for Anxiety?
When I truly started to focus on positive thinking and changing my negative self-talk to positive self-talk, I found that the less I felt overrun by feelings of fear and worry. More often, I started to feel a sense of calm when I felt anxious feelings and would develop positive thoughts to counteract and counterbalance the negative ones. Positive thinking can help anxiety because:
- It allows you to view challenges as opportunities for growth. When you encounter obstacles that become stressful, and you try to focus on staying positive instead of allowing the stress to increase and intensify, you can find the opportunity for growth. I have found that trying to view stressful situations with a positive mindset has helped me develop solutions and grow from the challenges I have encountered.
- It can help you to stay grounded. Trying to remain optimistic organically allows you to focus on your feelings and what you are experiencing at the moment. I have found that this has been helpful for me to stay grounded and stay present, rather than worrying about the future or feeling anxious feelings about past experiences.
- It can help you focus on what you are grateful for. I have found that because I am trying to stay positive, I also automatically focus on things that make me feel thankful. This helps bring about positive thoughts and feelings. It also helps me to focus on that instead of focusing on anything negative.
How to Cultivate an Optimistic Attitude
Staying positive and maintaining a positive mindset takes practice. It is something that I have worked on for years and something I continue to work on. Practicing positive thinking, though, starts with being aware of how you think. So, this begins with a self-monitoring process. Being aware of what you experience when you are anxious and then being aware of things that trigger those feelings is a great place to start. Journaling is a great way to develop this self-awareness.
Once you are aware of thoughts that you have that trigger anxious feelings, you can begin practicing changing those thoughts into positive ones. Surrounding yourself with positive social relationships can help you maintain optimism. It can also be helpful to identify, each day, a positive thought or a positive intention to focus on throughout the day.
Try these strategies to cultivate positive thinking to help anxiety. Share any strategies you use to maintain optimism in the comments below.
Bermio-Gonzalez, R. (2021, July 20). Positive Thinking Helps Anxiety, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2022, October 5 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/treatinganxiety/2021/7/positive-thinking-helps-anxiety
Author: Rizza Bermio-Gonzalez
This is a beautiful read. I love how you not only talk about positive thinking but replacing negative self-talk with positive self-talk, and tips for cultivating an optimistic attitude. Negative self-talk is such a common feature with anxiety and it's one that can easily spiral, learning how to stop this and replace it is so empowering. Similarly, cultivating an optimistic attitude gives you the tools to do so even when you're up against a situation that might not immediately lend itself to optimism.
Thank you for your comments! Negative self-talk can indeed quickly spin out of control, and so it can be so helpful for one's anxiety to be able to effectively replace it with positive statements. I absolutely agree that it can be empowering!
I truly appreciate your thoughts!